PolygamousRanchKid writes "A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker left Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent's eastern edge, officials said. The 399-foot cutter, the Polar Star, is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships because 'there is sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice,' the Coast Guard said in a statement. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, said the Polar Star, the Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, would take about seven days to reach Commonwealth Bay, depending on weather. Under international conventions observed by most countries, ships' crews are obliged to take part in such rescues and the owners carry the costs."
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